The best business idea is no good if you don’t have the finance to make it a reality. And if you need to get that money from elsewhere, business grants can be a great option.
However, you’ll need to convince the provider that you’re worth the investment – so here are ten top tips for business grants;
1. Do the background research
Find out what grants are available in your chosen industry or your local area – council development officers, and local enterprise agencies are good places to start.
2. Polish your pitch
You’re not just pitching a product or company – you also need to explain what you will use the funds for. Make sure you give a sensible suggestion here – such as product development, intellectual property costs and so on – and stick to it when the funds come through.
3. Find a matching grant
There’s no point applying for a grant that’s not intended for your kind of business opportunity – you’re much, much more likely to be successful if you apply for funding that’s designed for the type of product or company you’re trying to launch.
4. Make contact
If possible, meet with potential investors and grant providers, talk through your proposal and find out whether or not you’re in with a real chance of gaining funding.
5. Build your business plan
Create a clear, logical business plan – it will help you to organise your thoughts when you pitch to the potential providers of your grant funding, and should also give them something structured to look at to assess your chances of turning a profit.
6. Dodge the deadlines
Don’t miss out on a business grant because you didn’t know when the deadline was. Make it a part of your background research to know when your deadlines are, and make sure you complete your applications before the red-letter day arrives.
7. Know the limits
You should be aware that most grants can only provide a certain percentage of your costs – often 50% at the most – so make sure that, if you win the grant, you can cover the remainder from elsewhere, even if that means getting another grant from somewhere else.
8. Consider the alternatives
In a competitive business environment, grants can be hard to win. Are there any alternatives such as a private investment or business loan.
9. Stay focused
With all of the money suddenly in your account, it can be easy to get carried away when your business grant arrives – keep your focus and live within your means, and make sure you put the money towards the intended purposes.
10. Be Creative
However much funding you manage to find through grants, at some point that money will run out, so you’ll need to make sure your business becomes self-sustaining before that stage arrives.
Don’t try to run before you can walk – just stick to what you know and make yourself profitable. You can begin to work on expansion plans once things are bedded in.